Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (The Highest Cable Car Station in Europe!)

Welcome to Glacier Paradise, Europe’s highest cable car station at 3883 meters / 12739.5 feet!

We had never been this high before our visit, so the first thing we did was catch our breath—oh yeah—and check out the view.

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Glacier Paradise Viewing Platform

This is the highest viewing platform in Europe. And from here you can see 38 different peaks over 4000 meters and 14 different glaciers across 3 different countries: Switzerland, France, and Italy.

By the way, if we haven’t met, we’re Jana and Brett, and we live near Interlaken. And you can spy our hometown mountains from here: the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau!

You can also see the Breithorn [west] and Mont Blanc [east]. And Brett has heard the Breithorn might be the easiest 4000m peak to summit in the Alps, so it’s on his list to climb sometime—with an experienced guide of course!

You’ll notice that you don’t have the classic Matterhorn view because you’re looking at the south face. But that’s one of the neat things about Zermatt — you get a different perspective of the Matterhorn from every train ride and cable car and hiking trail!

Like many places in the world, there is a railing of locks here. Supposedly if you pledge your undying love to each other by attaching your lock and leaving the key in the mailbox, your key will be placed in the ice as a symbol of your eternal love.

lock at matterhorn glacier paradise viewing platform zermatt

Honestly, I’m not sure how to transition after that soooo let’s just talk about skiing, shall we??

Skiing at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Did you know that you can ski 365 days a year here at Glacier Paradise? This is both the highest and largest summer ski resort in Europe, with 21 kilometers of pistes and a freestyle arena. 

In case you can’t tell, it’s quite cold up here. So we highly recommend — no, we’re just telling you to pack a warm coat and a hat, and sunglasses are a good idea too. Because you’ll be enamored by the landscape and won’t want to go inside just because you’re cold!

…But during our visit, eventually the cold won and we headed inside to explore Glacier Palace. 

The Ice Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Well, you might be out of the wind, but it’s not any warmer in here since the Ice Palace is 15 meters below the surface of a glacier! We had been in the man-made Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch, but this was seriously super special since we were actually walking in a real crevasse.

Dear Glacier Paradise Tourism, if you’re listening, you need to be marketing this better because it is super super super fun! Especially the ice slide, where you grab a cushion, push off the ropes, and glide down a slide made entirely of ice!

Glacier Paradise Cinema

If you haven’t caught on yet, Glacier Paradise went all out to earn the title of “highest” in various categories, including the highest cinema in Europe. You can plop down for a few minutes in one of these cozy egg chairs and watch short videos about mountaineering, snow, glacier plants, and more. 

Restaurant at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

And there’s another award for the “highest” at Glacier Paradise, and that’s “En Güete,” the highest mountain restaurant in Europe! It’s futuristic and panoramic, of course. And although you can watch them cook in the kitchen, which is pretty cool, we didn’t eat here because we packed a picnic for a hike from the next station below.

We also discovered you have to pay 2 CHF to go to the bathroom. And after spending up to 120 CHF just to get up here, this is kind of ridiculous, in our opinion. However, we learned that they make you pay 2 CHF because there’s some kind of special water purification treatment system. And I guess it’s kind of impressive to even have a bathroom at almost 13,000 feet.

But the good news is you can pay by cash or credit card, and you actually get a little voucher where you can get 2 CHF off of a purchase at the restaurant or the shop. So it’s still pretty lame, but maybe a little bit less lame.

So let’s ride down to Tockener Steg. But get ready, because we have a surprise in store for our ride!

The Crystal Ride

This is already one of the highest cable car rides in the world. But for an extra 10 CHF per adult, you can upgrade to a glass-bottomed gondola called the Crystal Ride. The gondola’s exterior is decorated with sparkly crystals and you can see through the glass floor to the glacier below. Soaring over miles upon miles of glaciers is not an everyday experience for us.

And having a cable car all to ourselves with heated seats made the majestic views during this nine-minute ride even more enjoyable.

Tickets to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Here’s what you need to know about getting up to Glacier Paradise. 

  • The cable car leaves from the end of Zermatt village (the opposite side from the Gornergrat train station).
  • A standard roundtrip ticket for adults costs between 95 and 120 francs depending on the season.
  • Unfortunately, if you’re traveling with the Eurail or Interrail pass there’s no discount, so you’ll have to pay full price.
  • You get 50% off with the Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass.
  • And the ride is fully covered by both the Peak Pass and Peak2Peak Ticket (when it’s available).
  • Kids are totally free until turning 9 years old, which is pretty special because that’s usually only the case in Switzerland until they turn 6.
  • But—this is very important—children under age 3 are not allowed to travel past Trockener Steg because of the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Kids 9-15 travel for half price, or are free if you have the Swiss Family Card.
  • And if you’d like to bring your dog with you to the highest cable car station in Europe, you can do that for free too!

But enough talk about tickets, let’s show you what else there is to do here at Trockner Steg.

Things to do at Trockener Steg

Well, there are really only 4 things to do here.

First, this is where you can buy tickets for the special Crystal Ride that we just took.

Second, there’s a restaurant with a rooftop terrace, and a shop.

Third, you can visit the InfoCube. It’s a free mini museum all about the highest 3S cableway in the world, also called the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. What’s so special about this ride, you ask? Well, it’s the highest crossing in the Alps from Switzerland to Italy and it literally just opened up in July 2023!

Fourth, this is where you start the Matterhorn Glacier Trail (at least if you’d rather hike it downhill!). Now, if you’re not up for hiking at all, you can just ride the cable car down to the next station, Schwarzsee. But we’re going to take the 6.5km trek to show you what it’s like.

Hiking the Matterhorn Glacier Trail

The Matterhorn Glacier Trail leads across a lunar-like landscape that was once a glacier. Since 1850, when the little ice age ended, the Furgg and Theodul glaciers have receded more than three kilometers, exposing the trail you can now walk on.

You can see the Matterhorn reflected on a lake’s surface and read 23 different info panels with details about the glaciers that once existed, before ending your hike at our next spot.

Visiting Schwarzsee

Welcome to Schwarzsee! Here you’ll find a mini mountain lake with a small chapel, mountain biking trails, more hiking paths, a restaurant, and of course the famous Zermatt sign.

Curious to learn what else can you do near Zermatt? Check out our Zermatt Travel Guide, and we’ll see ya in Switzerland!

Introducing 3 day guide to zermatt itinerary by aplins in the alps swiss travel guide


Jana is an SEO copywriter and content editor plus travel YouTuber. She loves all things gelato, sunshine, and words. Her perfect day? Tossing on sunglasses to read a book and catch some rays, then dinner with her husband and friends. In her free time, Jana disciples teen girls and cooks from scratch (like homemade pasta). Jana lives in Switzerland with her husband, Brett.

2 thoughts on “Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (The Highest Cable Car Station in Europe!)

  1. Hi, we just bought your guide for the Jungfrau Region. It looks great, but we have been to the Jungfraujoch before, so we won’t be doing that. Do you still recommend the Swiss Half Fare card and the Berner Oberland Pass? We will be in Zermatt 2-3 and in the Interlaken area 6-7 days.
    Pam and Gene

    1. Hi Pam and Gene! For sure, the Half Fare + BO Pass combo will be great for your trip plans. Enjoy, and thanks for purchasing our guide!!

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